28 February 2007


This one wraps up my reposts for the time being-this time Sahib is at rapidshare.com as my previous links dead-but he's still at 320.

Another real rarity from Sahib Shihab recorded in Copenhagen where he had been a member of the Danish Radio Group since 1962.As an original pressing this is probably the rarest of all his albums and usually needs a re-mortgage to buy!
It was re-issued in 2001 (perfectly re-packaged and pressed by Octav-even down to the flip back cover)from which I have ripped this share.This has since dissapeared -(I think I read that there were only a few hundred copies pressed?) but comes up on Ebay from time to time.It has also just made a cd issue in Japan.
All the tunes were penned by Shihab during his extended stay in Copenhagen from 1962 and finally put on vinyl during two sessions in August 1965.THere are some big names here in the early stages of their careers-Niels Henning Orsted Pederson,Alan Botschinsky,Palle Mikkelborg and Bent Axen .Rather than waffle on about the music I think its easier just to say if you enjoyed the previous posts then you cannot go wrong with this-it's just superb throughout!


For those of you who didn't get it,mislaid it,forgot it,missed it,didn't realise how good it was,slept on it,ignored it,wore the mp3s out (yes this was a reason given by one very enthusiastic Seeds fan !!!!) here it is again-Sahib Shihab's Seeds ripped at 320 this time and at rapidshare.com


Here's a repost of Sahib's Summer Dawn for those who missed it-I saved a link to Rapidshare.com when it changed over from .de and given the popularity of Companionship the second time around thought this was worth putting up again.
Got some new stuff upped but just have to find time to prepare the posts - should be friday so keep 'em peeled.

Another rarity from Sahib Shihab this time from 1964 and the Argo label featuring the usual suspects-Boland,Jimmy Woode,Kenny Clarke,Joe Harris et al.This features the much compiled Please Dont Leave Me but the rest of the lp is equally good if not better.Not a duff track amongst 'em-all killer no filler!For those of you who would like to know more about Shihab I have lifted the following write up from AllAboutJazz
Many thanks to Killer Groove Music Library for the cover photo.

Jazz music has more than its fair share of overshadowed figures that whilst contributing much to the music have little presence in its collective conscious. One such musician is the talented multi-reedist, Sahib Shihab, who despite emigrating from the United States in the early 1960s managed to have a significant impact on the scene. Recording with some of the legends of bop, before embarking on a European career in jazz as a soloist and member of the successful Clarke Boland Big Band.
He was born Edmond Gregory in Savannah, Georgia in 1925, his earliest professional experience playing alto with Luther Hendersons band, at the tender age of thirteen. After a period of study at the Boston Conservatory he went on to play with trumpet great Roy Eldridge and lead alto with Fletcher Henderson in the mid forties. Here he was still billed as Eddie Gregory but in 1947 he became an early jazz convert to Islam, rather quaintly referred to as Mohammedanism in the vernacular of the day.
The Bop explosion of the late 1940s that swept through jazz gripped Sahib Shihab, as many others and he quickly became one of the leading Parker influenced altoists of the day. Proving himself well equipped to deal with the complexities of the new music, he contributed to a series of classic sides with Theolonius Monk, between 1947-51 laying down some of the cornerstones of Bops recorded history, including the original version of Round About Midnight. The self styled eccentric genius was an influential figure both on and off the bandstand and Shihabs later work on Baritone owes a debt to Monks quirky and individual approach to the music.
During this period he also found time to appear on many recordings by popular jazz artists including Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Benny Golson, Tadd Dameron and on John Coltrane?s first full session as leader for Prestige, First Trane. The invitation to play with Dizzy Gillespies big band in the early fifties was of particular significance as it marked Sahib?s switch to Baritone, the instrument he became most readily associated with.
By the end of the fifties Sahib Shihab had become increasingly embittered by the position of the jazzman in the United States and in particular racial tension. " I was getting tired of the atmosphere around New York," he informed downbeat in 1963. "And I wanted to get away from some of the prejudice. I dont have time for this racial bit. It depletes my energies." So in 1959 he leapt at the chance to depart its shores and join Quincy Jones band, touring with the musical Free and Easy. He stayed with the band after the musical ended, travelling around Europe until engagements eventually ran out and the band was wound up. He decided to make Scandinavia his home and lived between Denmark and Sweden according to work permit allowances for the next twelve years. Here he found the "survival and peace of mind" he needed and was soon active writing scores for television, cinema and the theatre and secured work at Copenhagen Polytechnic.
In 1961 he joined the enduring big band of fellow ex-patriot Kenny Clarke and the unorthodox Belgian pianist/composer Francy Boland. Sahib Shihab remained a key figure in the band for its 12 year run. Contributing his gruff, fluent sound on baritone and his fluttering expressive flute to many recordings and live settings. His idiosyncratic and distinctive style was well suited to the unpredictable arrangements of the band.
His own work from the 1960s and early 70s provides a fascinating document of a man completely at home with the idea of individuality and self-expression. While his earlier influences of swing and his days with Monk are evident, he manages to define himself on a variety of standards, ballads, and his own unusual compositions, often featuring curious arrangements and tempo changes. His flute technique is highlighted on the roaring Om Mani Padme Hum where, over a driving minor Latin groove; he applies his rich full tone along with an array of vocal expressions not dissimilar to Roland Kirk or Yusef Lateef. In the percussive Seeds Sahib plays Baritone against a sparse conga rhythm to great effect, utilizing its hoarse, rasping sound and its guttural expressiveness. Deep-throated honks sharply punctuate his flowing lines as he soars into new passages of invention full of warmth and humour. His sometimes eccentric playing is always saying something fresh and his unorthodoxy is beguiling.
Despite Sahibs more relaxed environment, his marriage to a Danish lady and raising a family in Europe, he remained a resolutely conscious African-American, still sensitive to racial issues. Danish friends regarded him as a mild mannered gentle man, unless riled by the issues of racial inequality and injustice. On the evening of the death of Malcolm X Shihab played an engagement with the CBBB in Cologne. As his turn approached to solo he stood and fingered the notes as vigorously as ever but refrained from making a note with his horn. Producing only an angry hissing noise, for the duration of his chorus. Making his anger, frustration and bitterness abundantly clear.
In 1973 Sahib Shihab returned to the United States for a three-year hiatus, working as a session man for rock and pop artists and also doing some copywriting for local musicians. He spent his remaining years between New York and Europe and played in a successful partnership with Art Farmer. Sahib Shihab died in Tennessee in 1989.
A shadowy fugitive from his home in the land of jazz, Sahib Shihab remains a true unsung figure, worthy of more attention. With his equally expert technique on Baritone, Flute, Alto and Soprano saxophones and his capacity to adapt easily to a variety of musical settings. His warm, individual, singsong sound in improvisation and his unusual and interesting compositions mark him out as a hidden treasure in the dusty corners of jazz archive.

26 February 2007


Hideo's been on the case now and kindly re-upped my rip of this great piece of British jazz which I originally posted nearly a year ago-doesn't time fly?!Thanks to Jazz-Nekko for a great cover pic too.

A great set from British jazz genius Neil Ardley one that has him working off the vibe explored on the Greek Variations album, but hitting a sound that's a fair bit funkier overall. As with other efforts, Ardley draws here on some really top-shelf talents for his ideas -- soloists who include Ian Carr on trumpet, Ken Shaw on guitar, and Tony Coe, Barbara Thompson, and Brian Smith on saxes! The tracks are all quite longish, and unfold in a really organic way building over an immediate rhythm at some points, or letting the soloists set the main vibe at others. There's nothing overly-obtuse about the record at all, and Ardley never lets anyone dominate too much making the album a strong group effort with a really unified vision but one with plenty of space for the feeling of the individual players

25 February 2007


Ramsone Knowling has re-upped my origina rip of this Sahib Shihab monster for your delectation after spotting a few requests for it in the comments boxes of this blog-Great work Ransome and thanks a lot.Two files-HERE & HERE.

Here's a real rarity and my number one desert island disc - it's this little beauty on German Vogue from Sahib Shihab.This also contains my favourite tune "Om Mani Padme Hum" penned by the wonderful Francy Boland.This double album has it all from frantic banging percussive workouts to modal numbers to beautiful ballads,all performed by Francy,Kenny Clarke,Jimmy Woode,Fats Sadi,Benny Bailey,Ake Persson and even Milt Jackson on vocal on one track.It's a staggeringly good piece of music and worth every penny of the HUGE price tag it commands.
Ripped @ 256 from vinyl-no reissue apart from the infamous late 80s bootleg which got pulped .


Stratos has been at work again and re-upped my original rip of this Pharoah Sanders Impulse session from 1970.This is as a result of a request he spotted in an Orgy comment box.Please feel free if you wish to do anything similar yourself for others as it's VERY rare that I will re-post links-if you re-up them and leave me the link I'll make sure it gets re-posted...How's that?
Ramsone Knowling has been on the case as well and done a sterling job on a re-up of Sahib Shihab's Companionship-it's on the way.Thanks Ramsone !!!

One of the harder to find ones by Pharoah and a record that features only 2 long songs: the title cut and "Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord", each of which covers a side apiece. Recorded in 1970 the lineup includes Gary Bartz, Lonnie Liston Smith, Clifford Jarvis ,Nathaniel Bettis and Woody Shaw and side one is very much in the rhythmic modal spiritual mode of Pharoah's most compelling work on Impulse with a killing bass line courtesy of the great Cecil McBee . Side two then gets a bit more outside and free with more great solo work from McBee.

21 February 2007


The Heath Brothers from 1976 on Strata East.Recorded in Norway this features Albert,Jimmy and Percy joined by Stanley Cowell(of course!).Well known amongst the break digging community for samples galore an original of this lp commands $100+ price tag on ebay these days - still you pays your money and you takes your choice !
Here's a great write up from Soul Sides:

Heath Brothers: Marchin' On (Strata-East 1976)
If you only listened to the A-side of this album, you'd find it to be a quite pleasant, straight-ahead jazz LP, with the warm flute tootings of Jimmy Heath, rich bassline strumming of Percy Heath and Stanley Cowell cameoing on piano and mbira. "Maimoun" is just a gorgeous, mellow song closing out the first side and their cover of "Watergate Blues" isn't bad either. But add on the four part "Smilin' Billy Suite" and you have the makings of one of Strata-East's greatest albums. Sure, it helps that Q-Tip sampled "Suite II" for Nas' "One Love", thereby introducing the album to the rest of the world but like Monty Alexander's "Love and Happiness", the sum of the song is far greater than the sample. By this time, most folks have heard "Suite II" in some fashion or other - Redman used 16 bars of the song on "Supaman Lova Pt. 3" for chrissake. Cowell's use of the mbira thumb piano is just fantastic, giving the whole song a different vibe from traditional jazz instrumentation. But it's always surprised me how little love "Suite I" receives. While almost all the suites use the same basic melodic riff as a common anchor, "Suite I" focuses mostly on Percy Heath's basslines before his brother Jimmy's relaxed flute drifts in. "Suite III" is also pretty solid - much more dramatic and dissonant, largely thanks to Albert Heath's playing of an African double reed woodwind. "Suite IV" brings back the major refrain once more, this time on sax, with a lighter, more upbeat feel than the previous three Suites. All in all, an undeniable masterpiece of the soul jazz era.

This got a limited vinyl reissue some years ago and a Japanese cd press in 2003 on Bomba which is now deleted.
This post is ripped from original vinyl at 320.


Roy Haynes on Galaxy from 1977 on Galaxy with Bobby Hutcherson,John Klemmer,George Cables,Ron Carter,Cecil McBee and Kenneth Nash.
I posted this in the main for the battering version of Quiet Fire that Haynes,McBee,Nash and Cables swarm all over-probably not to everyones taste(!)but what the hell.The rest of the lp is similar to Roy's pants on the cover-pretty much of the time!It's not sure if it's fusion or straight ahead but again worth a listen especially given the presence of Hutcherson and Cables.
Ripped from the original vinyl at 320 .This made a cd reissue coupled with the similarly schizophrenic "Vistalite" from 1978 -I think it's now been deleted.


Gap Mangione's first album from 1968-a pretty good effort for a guy who went on to record some of the most tedious fusion of all time(not that he was alone in that !).
I picked it up on the strength of the track "Boys with Toys" (which was sampled by Slum Village-I believe some other tracks have been put thru the hip hop regurgitator too) but the rest of it's well worth a listen taking styles of jazz from 60s soundtracks and working them into a electrified context.

Many who listen to this recording for the first time will be hearing a new sound. Knowledgeable Rochesterians who are devotees of modern American music, however, will be hearing in a new setting a blend of familiar sounds – the vibrant, driving music of the Gap Mangione Trio coupled with the sensitive composition and superb orchestration of his brother, Chuck Mangione.
Individually and together, Gap and Chuck Mangione have been making their mark on both the local and national music scenes for many years, despite the fact that they are both young men. After having developed an enthusiastic following in upstate New York, their jointly-led sextet "The Jazz Brothers" was introduced nationally on Riverside Records in 1960 with the prediction that it represented ". . . an incredibly mature and richly talented unit that seems destined to make a long, deep and wide impact on the jazz world." The present recording demonstrates yet another proof of the validity of that prophecy.
For five years from the date of that recording, the Jazz Brothers continued to perform both locally and on tour, their schedule coordinated with that imposed upon Gap and Chuck by musical studies at Syracuse University and Eastman School of Music in Rochester respectively. Their formal studies behind them by the spring of 1965, the brothers embarked independently in new directions, which for Chuck included playing with and writing for some of the foremost jazz groups in the country, and for Gap meant the forming of a unique trio consisting of piano with bass and conga drums.
Gap‘s aim in structuring the sound and style of his trio was to create a group, universal in appeal, whose material, be it old familiar tunes or the latest hits, bears the unmistakable stamp of the Mangione sound. The commercial viability of the trio‘s ubiquitous appeal was seen at once by two long-time followers of Gap‘s talents who were contemplating adding a music-oriented supper club to their chain of very successful restaurants. "The Other Side of the Tracks" has emerged as both Rochester s most successful east side night spot and an ideal showcase for the Gap Mangione Trio.
The present recording demonstrates convincingly the several facets of the Mangione style. Intermixed are tracks demonstrating the same happy, swinging trio sounds which delight patrons and fans nightly at the Tracks; pieces showcasing Gap‘s keyboard style in almost symphonic settings composed and scored by Chuck Mangione; and several trio-plus-big-band flag wavers undoubtedly included to prove the point that "to swing is fun."
The trio features as supporting artists Tony Levin, a young (21) bassist from Brookline, Massachusetts whose superb playing on both acoustic and electric bass has been the harmonic mainstay of the trio for the past year, and Steve Gadd, a young (23) drummer from Rochester whose playing has brought him not only an enthusiastic crowd of fans in upstate New York but also favorable notice and offers of employment from several very respected names on the national scene. The reasons for this are amply evidenced on this recording. Featuring Gap on not only piano but also electric piano, the selections are typical of the carefully crafted "head" arrangements, the pop-rock influence, and most important the unity and precision of execution which have given Gap and the trio the reputation they enjoy with fans of all ages.
The five tracks composed and arranged by Chuck Mangione almost defy categorization. They represent an amalgam of seemingly disparate elements – rock, big band jazz, solo improvisation, and "classical" music – compounded into what can only be termed modern American music. In this recording, the Gap Mangione Trio is joined by fifteen fine musicians under the baton of Chuck Mangione. It is these tracks particularly which should prove real eye-openers to those unfamiliar either with what is happening in modern jazz music today or with the tremendous talents of Chuck Mangione.
Three of the remaining tracks are excellent examples of the excitement which can be generated when a swinging trio and a great band get together. Whether dancing, finger-popping, or just listening be your forte, it is appropriate here.
The final selection – St. Thomas – deserves special mention, as it is a showcase for the "fourth" member of the Gap Mangione Trio, conga drummer Dhui Mandingo. Having been a featured performer with the Trio since 1965, Dhui‘s African-based and jazz-and-latin-influenced style have amazed and impressed many listeners in solo performances such as that recorded here. The "regular" drummer on this track is Joe LaBarbera who returned to Rochester from a road tour just as this recording was made, to take over the drum chair in the Trio from the service-bound Steve Gadd.
This recording thus provides a good cross-section of Gap Mangione‘s piano style in several settings. The tunes may be old or new but the music is young – modern American music at its finest.

– Barry Cummings, 1968

Gap Mangione, piano, electric piano, organ
Tony Levin, bass, electric bass
Steve Gadd, drums
Dhui Mandingo, conga drums (No. 6 only)
Joe LaBarbera, drums (No. 6 only)
No. 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11 Add the following:
Chuck Mangione, Conductor; Snooky Young, trumpet, flugelhorn; Marv Stamm, trumpet, flugelhorn; Clark Terry, trumpet, flugelhorn; Wayne Andre, trombone; Tony Studd, trombone; Paul Faulise, bass trombone; James Buffington, french horn; Earl Chapin, french horn; Jerome Richardson, soprano, alto, baritone saxes, flute; Joe Farrell, tenor sax, flute; Frank Wess, tenor sax, flute; Ned Corman, baritone sax, flute, bass clarinet; Ray Beckenstien, flute, piccolo; Sam Brown, guitar; Mike Manieri, vibes.
This made a cd reissue in 2003 which may have now been deleted.


I thought I would re-post this great lp by Harold Land for the third time as so many people have been asking for it.The link's at rapidshare.com this time and you have STRATOS to thank for taking the time to re-up it-thanks Stratos!
Here's the obligatory write up from the folk at Dusty Groove who had this in stock as a Japanese cd reissue.

A fantastically beautiful record that stands as the first meeting between Bobby Hutcherson and Harold Land and it's an album that's possibly even better than the more famous Blue Note work by the pair! This is one of those "once in a lifetime" jazz sessions filled with magical interplay that's made the record a favorite with collectors for years, and done with a sound that's as lyrically graceful as it is soulful and righteous. Hutcherson's vibes are at their warmest 60s mode, but still have some of the angularity of his more modern sides for Blue Note. However Land is the real discovery here as he steps out with a fluidity that surpasses any of his earlier hardbop albums, a flowing exploratory style expressed on both flute and tenor with a mode that's years ahead of its time, and sounds a lot more like work on labels like Strata East or Muse from the 70s. Tracks are nearly all originals by Land, and are the kind of thoughtful jazz compositions that show up on a rare few records from the 60s - all of them are great, and sparkle with creativity and a subdued sense of righteousness.

Pretty tough to track down on vinyl its been overlooked for cd release until very recently and even now it's a Japanese issue only in a card sleeve -this is ripped from the original vinyl on the mighty Cadet label.

19 February 2007


I finally picked up a mint vinyl copy of this from Italy on ebay.It's Enrico Rava's "Quotation Marks" on Japo from 1976 and it's a wonderful album-from the exquisite "Water Kite" to the free tendencies of "Quotation Marks / Naranjales".It's reminscent at times of Gato Barbieri's series of "Chapter" lps for Impulse but as the following review says it is quite unique:

"Unique" is so overused now, but that's exactly what this session is - there simply is nothing quite like it in the world of music.
The concept might be unfairly but quickly described as bright jazz meets bittersweet South American. Apparently, Rava began with a series of poems by Argentian poet Mario Trejo and recorded three settings of them in New York. The late Jeanne Lee has rarely sounded better than she does in this context, with a superb backup band - guitarist John Abercrombie, drummer Jack DeJohnette, David Horowiz on piano and synth, Herb Bushler on bass and percussionists Ray Armando and Warren Smith - all of whom work hard to sound light and driving, very much in the spirit of Brazilian and Argentinian music. Four months later Rava completed the album in Buenos Aires, recording four non-vocal tracks with a completely different band including the soulful bandoneon player Rodolfo Mederos, reedman Finito Bingert (who gets one nice flute solo), pianist Matias Pizarro, guitarist Ricardo Lew, and percussionists Nestor Astarita and El Chino Rossi. The similarity in instrumentation is one element that gives the album its unity, but each of the pieces is complementary to the others - by the end of the album, you feel that you've heard a complete artistic statement. No one element in any single piece ever overpowers the others. The music percolates along, alternately bubbly or charming or winsome or wistful, with a vocal line or trumpet solo or guitar solo or bandoneon rising above the mix and then settling back. The colors are gorgeous - Mederos's bandoneon is beautifully recorded, Lee's breathy avant-garde vocals are set just right within the percussion, and Rava's trumpet, which at this point was already original, but shows a taste of Miles's introspection and a few of Freddie Hubbard's arpeggios, glows. There are some subtle production touches - a little double-tracking of trumpet here, some overlaying of bandoneon intro and outro there, but you never feel that the producers have played games with the essence of the music. You might feel that there's just a touch too much of the avant-garde in "Quotation Marks / Naranjales," but that passage only lasts a minute or so, and it actually is refreshing in the context of all the other music. Those who've come to love Rava's music since the mid-70s and those who mourn Jeanne Lee should own this one -Steve Ellman.

This has just made a rather expensive Japanese re-issue on cd .
I have ripped this post from the original vinyl at 320.
Two files to get-here and here.

And a big thanks to xmnr0x23 for tipping me off about this album-check his great Axelrod blog out here!

18 February 2007


Art Farmer teamed up with Chico O'Farrill who composed and arranged this 1959 latin jazz suite for United Artists.
Here's a rather underwhelming review from Ken Dryden at AMG-personally I think it's a pretty good example of big band latin jazz in the late 50s.

One of the rarer LPs in Art Farmer's sizable discography is this 1960 studio date for United Artists, whose centerpiece is Chico O'Farrill's "The Aztec Suite." This long piece has its moments, particularly featuring the trumpeter and solos by unidentified sidemen (it is possible that the tenor saxophonist is Al Cohn, the conductor of the piece). In spite of the assurances of the uncredited liner notes author who states that "since its introduction, it has become a jazz classic," this suite sounds uneven and rather dated. It isn't clear if O'Farrill is also the arranger for the shorter tracks on the flip side of the record, though it is very likely. Unfortunately, excessive Latin percussion overwhelms Irving Berlin's "Heat Wave," while a normally terrific standard, "Alone Together," is rapidly faded at an odd moment. Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'n You" proves to be rather successful, however. Farmer's own solos tend to be rather brief. It's hard to consider this long unavailable disc to be an essential part of Art Farmer's career, but collectors who have a compulsive interest in collecting everything may want to hunt auction lists to track down a copy.

This has just made a cd reissue (coupled with Brass Shout)for the Gambit label.



Bobby Timmons on a groovy tip for Milestone from 1967.
Timmons, who died at the age of 38 in 1974 indirectly from years of drug abuse, is best known for his work in the late '50s/early '60s, but he still had something strong to offer during 1967 for his penultimate album. This album has the pianist in an unusual setting (for him): at the head of a nonet arranged by Tom McIntosh. The reeds of Hubert Laws, James Moody, Joe Farrell, and George Barrow are heard from (particularly on "Straight No Chaser"); trumpeter Jimmy Owens has some spots; and occasionally background singers are utilized.
Here's how the chaps at Dusty Groove describe it (they are currently awaiting delivery of a new Japanese cd reissue):

One of the rarest Bobby Timmons albums and one of the grooviest too! The funky piano genius plays here in two different settings- one, a tight quartet with some nice guitar by a young Joe Beck; the other, with a groovy larger band, led by Tom McIntosh, and augmented by voices. The McIntosh stuff's the kind of material we used to hate, but believe us, it's great here, and the mix of voice, woodwinds, and funky piano is amazing! The arrangements are really off-kilter and fresher than most stuff from this vintage, and the material's a sweet mix of groove and funk that provides a perfect showcase for Timmons' incredible piano talents.


Back with long tall Dexter and a date from 1970 on Prestige.This is best known for the infectious funky title tune "The Panther" penned by Dexter himself.
Here's a review from Scott Yanow:

Although Dexter Gordon contributed three originals to this American session, his renditions of the three standards are most memorable. The great tenor romps on the familiar line of "The Blues Walk," digs into "Body and Soul" (giving this warhorse a fresh new interpretation), and makes a classic statement on "The Christmas Song." With the assistance of pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Larry Ridley, and drummer Alan Dawson, Gordon is in typically spirited form on this upbeat set.

Not so easy to track down on vinyl these days -however this made a re-issue on cd in 1998 which is now out of print.

4 February 2007


Another one for the beatheads with this wigged out bit of funky fusion on Cadet from 1975.In much the same vein as "Sophisticated Funk" this one's heavily influenced by the sort of sound and groove created by the Mizell Brothers.
Featuring McDuff on Moogs,Electric Piano and B3 supported by a stellar cast:George Benson,Phil Upchurch and Cornell Dupree on guitars,Pee Wee Ellis on Saxes,Bob Cranshaw on Bass,Grady Tate on Drums and Ray Mantilla on Congas.
Ripped from original vinyl at 320.
Thanks to Joachim for the fantastic cover picture-great work!

3 February 2007


I haven't posted a soundtrack for a while so here's one of my favourites by Dave Grusin and a write up from The Grusin Archive:

Inspired by a film which he describes as "terrific,"Dave Grusin's task was to evoke the predicament of a man with a complex and inventive mind whose every decision was one of life or (his own) death.
The result was a score many people - both fan and critic alike - rank as one of his top five, for the way it uses jazz, not only to achieve this cerebral effect, but also to reflect the surrealistic circumstances which are at the heart of “Three Days of the Condor” itself. Condor had this kind of dark atmosphere to it," notes Dave Grusin, and he tied this aspect together with the contemporary setting via rhythm and blues.
There are three principal themes in the motion picture: main title “Condor,” which describes the lifestyle of the hip protagonist, Joe Turner, “Goodbye for Kathy,” the love theme, and “Yellow Panic,“ an eerie piece of music which is often interlaced with “Condor” to denote not only terror but also uncertainty.
In all the music for this score, Dave Grusin has inventively managed to reflect both the locale and mental state of the characters while simultaneously projecting the bizarre circumstances in which Condor can't be sure who is friend and who is foe.
“Condor” has all the cool jauntiness of the protagonist who is a bit of an iconoclast. Ultra bright, with a warm heart and an incomparable sense of self-preservation, the theme not only reflects his actions on screen, but also exudes a hint of the confusion which is about to turn his world upside down. According to the film's director Sydney Pollack, in this theme, and for that matter, all the music in the film, Dave Grusin "wrote a sound which was very much on the cutting edge in those days," adding, "and it still is. It doesn't sound dated."
He feels that the theme generated much of the energy needed to drive the picture. Referring to the R&B element, he states “from the first cue, when the main title comes on, there's a pulse.” Sydney Pollack adds that Dave Grusin “pushed the picture,” something the director was extra keen to do to maintain momentum. (In this vein, he had already cut down the time span of the action from the original work, “Six Days of the Condor.”)
The love theme is probably the most sensuous in Dave Grusin's catalogue of film music. It not only perfectly embellishes the romantic scenes, but is translated to enhance some dramatic moments in the movie as well, in addition to capturing the essence of the relationship between Joe and Kathy.
“Yellow Panic“ is a plastic piece of music which, via the use of stingers, screeching strings and various other musical effects, adds suspense, fear or bewilderment to a variety of scenes, which ever sensation might be required.
Aided and abetted by Lee Ritenour (whose guitar adds so much psychological flavor to the soundtrack) and Tom Scott (whose sax makes romantic a situation which starts out basically the opposite), the sensitive performances by Dave Grusin and his musicians show a complete understanding of the needs of this film. In fact, the basic group is a rhythm section, featuring two guitars with Harvey Mason on drums, and four horns - around ten musicians in all.
Dave Grusin plays mostly Rhodes- and it was all cut live. Because of the nature of the music and the film, he explains that everybody “had a certain amount of freedom in inflection. The guitar players were free within certain restrictions to stretch out a little bit.”
Stating that this loose approach had great appeal for him, he adds, “ I really enjoyed playing what the mood of everything dictated at the moment, rather than figuring out ahead of time what I wanted someone else to play.”
Later the rhythm track was augmented with strings, along with some other orchestral colors. Says the composer, “for me that's the best of both worlds, because I communicate a little better on a thing like that from the keyboard.”
In most motion pictures, music plays the role of expressing emotions which are not necessarily verbalized. In “Three Days of the Condor,” it is the working of Condor's mind which must be suggested musically - for the brainy young CIA desk man is not only in shock, but is constantly trying to devise what is actually going on, whom he can trust and virtually at every moment, just how to stay alive.
This unseen, but ever-present part of the film is superbly effected by the psychological score through a heavy emphasis on rhythm and blues. In fact this groove nearly had negative repercussions at first. Dave Grusin states that the stylish music got the director “into trouble at the previews, because people were tapping their feet. He started worrying, 'what are they doing?' Were they getting this film or they listening to this cue?"'
It might be noted that there is a strong feeling of the musical sensations in this film in the two pieces which on their own comprise one side of Dave Grusin's jazz album “One of a Kind.” The 1977 recording of “Montage” and “Playera” has a similar day (or year?) in the life quality, a biographical sense of moving through a sometimes incomprehensible experience.
Source music is effectively used throughout the film. Christmas songs not only indicate the time of year, but also lend pathos to what might otherwise be starker scenes, and conversely, to some of the more terrifying incidents, give a sense of normal life going on.
The second film of nine he scored for Sydney Pollack, “Three Days of the Condor” exhibits an aspect which can be observed particularly on films where Dave Grusin has had the greatest amount of independence. That is, little music in the first part of the film compared to later reels. This tendency can also be observed on individual cues, where he lets the action speak for itself, and allows the audience to form their own reactions before bringing in the music to reinforce such conclusions.
The composer himself admits a growing fondness for the film, saying “I have seen this in intervals of five or ten years since we did it, and I love this picture better now than when it was new.”
Despite the very political and marketing orientation of the Oscars, it might be said that Dave Grusin's finest scores have generally been acknowledged by the Motion Picture Academy. However, it seems inconceivable that “Three Days of the Condor” not only failed to receive a nomination, but the award itself. It is a winner in every sense of the word!


Don Rendell and Ian Carr
from 1968 accompanied by Michael Garrick-Piano;Dave Green-Bass;Trevor Tomkins-Drums.
An essential piece of British jazz-end of story.